Packard Bell 486 DX2 66mhz

This is where I got my start. Purchased in 1994 for my mother to go back to school. It was promptly torn apart and reassembled many times including tears as I lost important files of her coursework. It did come with stereoscopic 3D glasses.

While old and outdated, this is where I got my start in technology and engineering. It stirred my curiosity at a time when the internet was used less for entertainment. It forced people to understand how-it-works.

Yes, there are benefits of today’s technology requiring only a power button: cellular networks, refined user interfaces, and a 3yo child can be entertained. However ask someone born after the year 2000:
“How does the internet work?” or
“How does your cell phone work?” or, taking a different angle,
“How does your car work?”

Young people have less desire to know how-it-works; partly because it works often without them understanding. One of my goals for our family and children is they develop a passion for learning and understanding how-it-works. Mechanical, electrical, and in life – going deeper in learning about cultures, faith, our family values equips them to be firm in beliefs and in respecting others.

Packard Bell 486 DX2-66 Hardware:

  • Processor – 486DX2-66
  • Memory – 8MB
  • Hard Drive – 840MB
  • Graphics Chip – 1MB Video
  • Sound Card – Sound Blaster 16
  • Optical Drive – 2x CD-ROM
  • Floppy Drives – 1x 1.44MB 3.5″
  • Operating System – MS-DOS 6.0/Windows 3.11 for Workgroups
  • Modem – 28.8Kbps


I vividly recall installing Netscape Navigator and later the Netscape Communicator suite. Communicator included Composer which was an early WYSIWYG editor for creating web pages. It took hours to download Netscape Communicator which I believe was around 15MB.

Click the links; brings back memories!
Here were a few Packard Bell included software titles that are remembered fondly:

The 1987 Suzuki LT-4WD QuadRunner: A 4WD That Reaches New Heights

We all our favorites: our 1987 Suzuki has been with me since childhood. From the cabin, to the farm, to plowing snow, to pulling trailers, to super-low diff lock its arguably the most reliable and best ATV ever made. No chains. No belts. Well loved.

A goal is to make this a resource to keep these machines alive.
More to come with specific tips, facts, and information specific to the:

  • LT-4WD 1987-1998 Suzuki QuadRunner 250
  • LT-F250F 1999-2002 Suzuki QuadRunner 250 – newer body style
  • LT-F4WDX 1991-1998 Suzuki King Quad 300 [300cc]
  • LT-F300F 1999-2002 Suzuki King Quad 300 [300cc] – newer body style

“Tackle the tough terrain in four-wheel drive, or switch easily to two-wheel drive using the dash mounted lever and discover what it can really do. The front differential can even be locked when in super low range for extra traction on snow, mud and ice.”

Suzuki lived up to the ads. I purchased NOS brochures and the official Suzuki Service Manual off eBay a few years ago and scanned them in an attempt to preserve history. The ad at the top was the first year: 1987 model pictures. Square axle nut boots (cone shaped all other years ), silver skid plate up front (black all other years), and the only year with the flip up/down front and rear racks.
The LT-4WD had a retail price of $3298.00.

Here was the sales brochure from 1995:

Amazingly you can still [supposedly] purchase the King Quad 300 new in Australia; some 29 years after the original King Quad 300 was introduced and a full 34 years after the QuadRunner 250.

“The LT-4WD was able to give off-road enthusiast the ability to explore new limits on the trails or around the farm. The LT-4WD was the beginning of the sport-utility ATV at Suzuki.”

easy2boot gets better and better

Be safe. Stay home. While working longer days now, COVID-19 has given an opportunity to brain dump topics I have been meaning to properly document.

Case-and-point: easy2boot is wonderful. You can boot literally anything off a USB stick. Windows 10 unattended? Yes. Name-your-partition-ISO? Yes. Tivo MFS Tools for hard drive cloning? Yes. Linux flavors? Absolutely. Random PCs that only do BIOS updates via ISO? Yes. And the list goes on… I use it almost daily and support the developer.

Hard to believe its been almost 5 years since relying on easy2boot. 2015 Post: easy2boot & WSUS Offline; a must-have USB stick for Technology professionals

In the past few months, easy2boot can now UEFI Secure Boot a Windows 10 Recovery Environment from a FAT32 secondary partition, from there you can swap in an .imgPTN file (now .imgPTN23), reboot, and now load whatever OS you choose from UEFI Secure Boot. Brilliant!

The easy2boot site does a superb job in documenting technical details however that is partly the challenge; its a lot to understand. My use case: an all-power bootable USB stick for Windows installations and WinRE to swap in-and-out different versions. I prefer two identical USB drives for redundancy. Two 64GB USB3.0 all-metal key-chain drives.

  • Download the latest version (as of writing: Easy2Boot_v2.00A_password_is_e2b.zip)
  • Make a new USB stick.
    As of v2.00, “The main change is that when you make a new drive, it will now download the agFM files and copy them to the second FAT32 partition (if present). This allows UEFI-booting to the agFM grub2 File Manager system. All thanks to ‘a1ive’ for developing his grub2 branch and agFM.”
    Make_E2B.exe and Make_E2B_USB_drive.cmd – downloads agFM if 2nd FAT32 partition is made. If drive is <128Gib then 2nd FAT32 partition of approx 500MB is automatically made.
  • Because my USB drives are 64GB, I resize (enlarge) the secondary FAT32 partition to ~1.2GB in size to handle the WinRE image [next step].
  • Add nodelay
  • Add “No key (choose a version to install).xml” to the _ISO\WINDOWS\WIN10\ and _ISO\WINDOWS\WIN7\ directories if not already present. These answer files allow for the “Repair” option.
  • Copy Win10 ISOs (I always keep a few builds handy; both x86 and x64 combo)
  • Copy Win7 USB3 ISO (if you have a reason; helpful still for in-place upgrades for activation)
  • Copy Windows 10 x64 v1909 Injected.imgPTN23. The .imgPTN23 file extension is important. Follow the Adding UEFI/.imgPTN images guide carefully; specifically the “To convert an ISO to .imgPTN file for UEFI-booting” section.
  • Copy Win10XPE_x64.ISO to the root of your secondary FAT32 partition. This is what you can UEFI boot. You have to make this .ISO file; use Win10PE utility to do it.

Enjoy easy2boot! Its quite wonderful and actively developed. Please support the developer who probably spends a good percentage of their life on this project.

Ford Motor Company Postcards circa 1917

My father shared a few of these via email. Curious, I located the entire image set and PDF. Courtesy of Dean’s Garage and Model A Owners of Canada.

Remarkable to see the Ford production table.
Brings to mind Tesla (TSLA) who in 2019 produced ~365,300 vehicles.
2019 US population: 329.45 million people.

Ford produced this amount in 1915 (~308,213). Population? 1/3.
1915 US population: 100.55 million people.

PDF version.

1971 Suzuki MT50 TrailHopper

Its been too long.
Small engines are a personal hobby; something I can do with our kids and my father. And its an opportunity to learn from “old” technology. I sincerely enjoy understanding the designs of the past; especially when we can’t implement the simplicity today (e.g. due to emissions).

My father picked this up. A first year, all original, one-owner 1971 Suzuki MT50 Trail-Hopper. Has 2665 miles on it. Included is an old Suzuki ad for this fun little machine (courtesy of CollectorsWeekly).

In the process of getting it back running, I could not locate a Service Manual for the MT50 that was freely available. Its important to pay it forward. Here is a scanned copy of a complete Suzuki Service Manual & Part List for Suzuki MT50 TrailHopper 1971, 1972, & 1973.
The best section? Reed valves and C.C.I. pages 103-108.

1971, 1972, & 1973 Suzuki MT50 Service & Parts Manual

May we take this opportunity to express our appreciation for your continuous efforts in expanding the sales market for our products. At this time we have marketed the Suzuki MT50, which has been made completely new in style and excellent in performance.
The Suzuki MT50 has outstanding mechanisms such as reed valve, Suzuki "C.C.I." system and automatic clutch.
The engine performance has been improved especially in low speed and climbing ability. And also its top speed registers 48-56 k m/h (30-35 mph).
This Service Manual explains, mainly, the principles and construction of these new mechanisms.

The most important items, such as disassembling, assembling, tips on adjusting, maintenance standards and tips on handling, are briefly but clearly described in this Manual.
By making a practice of using this Manual, it will assist you in performing perfect servicing.

October, 1970

Poor Performing Wi-Fi (Slow) after upgrading to Windows 10 Creators Update (1703 or 1709)

After the issues with DSIM in my prior post, this is becoming normal for Microsoft to introduce issues in each release.

I had terrible throughput via wireless. Upgraded/downgraded drivers (Intel 7265ac adapter). Tried everything. Then came across this:
Fix: Slow Wifi Issues After Installing Creators Update

Specifically, “Method 1: Disabling Receive segment coalescing (RSC) on your Wireless Adapter”. Feel free to read more here from Microsoft.

All that said, it was the root cause and disabling RSC resolved the issue.
Summarized steps (borrowing from the linked site above; refer to their site for screenshots):

  1. Launch an elevated Command Prompt
  2. Type powershell Get-Netadapter and note down the value under Name for your Wifi.
  3. Then type, powershell Get-NetAdapterRsc when you do this it will show you the current values, if it is False, then it is already disabled
  4. If it is True, then disable it by typing powershell Disable-NetAdapterRsc -Name WiFi
    Replace the value for -Name with the name of your Wifi.

DSIM Windows 10 Creators Update (1703) Error: 0x800f081f

After being unable to install .NET 3.5 on a clean Windows 10 Pro install, this led me to do a DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth which would NOT complete.

Microsoft shipped Creators Update with missing and/or corrupt MUM files (Microsoft Update Manifest, error CBS Corrupt MUM).

Error screenshot:

Follow the guide here or here to resolve.

Basically involves removing the following Registry entries (you have to give yourself “Full Control” before you can delete them). Backup the keys just in case you ever want them.

  1. HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Component Based Servicing\PackageIndex\Microsoft-Windows-TestRoot-and-FlightSigning-Package~31bf3856ad364e35~amd64~~0.0.0.0
  2. HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Component Based Servicing\Packages\Microsoft-Windows-TestRoot-and-FlightSigning-Package~31bf3856ad364e35~amd64~~10.0.15063.0

Reboot.

Confirm in an elevated command prompt:

dism.exe /online /cleanup-image /restorehealth

I would suspect millions of Windows 10 Creators Update 64-bit machines suffer this issue and can’t properly add/remove Windows features or repair using DISM.

Windows Server 2008 2012 DHCP Reservations MAC addresses MUST be lowercase!

Came across this silly error while trying to enter DHCP reservations into Server 2012 R2. The issue is not related to the IP being outside the DHCP address pool.

If you try to add an UPPERCASE MAC address:

You get the following (un)helpful warnings:

“The Unique Identifier you have entered may not be correct. Do you
want to use this identifier anyway”

“The DHCP server received a message from a client that is not valid”

Which tells you nothing helpful or informative. After adjusting the Address Pool, it because clear that was not the issue. Using a random MAC address generator, the generated MAC worked without issue. Ironically it was lowercase. I converted my failed MAC address to lowercase and it worked without issue, even outside the Address Pool.

Ideally this saves others a few minutes in their day.

Permanently removing Windows printers that keeps coming back

A simple change: a new Windows print server requiring a change in the printers installed using a Group Policy Targeting GPO (refer to this post from 2015 for more details).

Not so easy. Removing the old/existing printers were all but impossible. Nothing worked. Nothing. Others have had similar experiences; e.g. here, here, and here.

This is a two part post: 1) the actual removal script and 2) other online resources and discussion around the issue.

Removal Script

This script was used as GPO Computer shutdown script.

  1. Download: permanently_remove_printers_COMPUTER_shutdown_script.zip
  2. Edit the “shutdown_registry_printer_purge.bat” batch file. Go to Line 19 and 20 and change the server name in quotes for both lines. Two lines per printer.
    REM ------------------------------> Add these two lines per printer to remove and change server name <------------------------------
    
    rundll32 printui.dll,PrintUIEntry /gd /q /n"\\print\PaperCut"
    rundll32 printui.dll,PrintUIEntry /dn /q /n"\\print\PaperCut"
  3. Go to Line 23 and change the server name in quotes. One line per printer.
    REM ------------------------------> Add this one line per printer to remove and change server name <------------------------------
    
    ADPRINTX.exe /r "\\print\PaperCut"
  4. Edit the “printer_hive_cleanup.vbs” file. Go to Line 117 and 119 and change the server name in quotes for both lines. Two lines per printer.

    A special thanks to Mick for his wonderful vbs script. If you want a less forceful method, Mick also references a way to do per-user registry edit using Active-Setup (I did not test this method).
  5. Add the .bat file to a shutdown or startup script.
    The script must run as the SYSTEM user.

Other Resources on adding/removing Windows printers

  1. Removing a printer device FULLY – Microsoft Community 
  2. group policy – Deleted printers keeps coming back – and multiply – Server Fault 
  3. Problem with multiple instances of shared printers being installed on client computers when the spooler service is started 
  4. [SOLVED] All network printers automatically added for each user on 2012 R2 RDSH – Microsoft Remote Desktop Services – Spiceworks 
  5. Remove Printers by Name or Server – Script Center – Spiceworks 
  6. script to add new network printers 
  7. Set Default Printer if not in a specific group – Petri IT Knowledgebase Forums 
  8. Adding a network printer from the command line (or bat file) – Networking – Spiceworks 
  9. Script to remove obsolete printer in local profiles – Petri
  10. Hey, Scripting Guy! How Can I Remove All the Network Printers on a Computer?
  11. Printer mapping using GPP 
  12. Intermittent printer delivery failures with GPP – XenDesktop 7.x – Discussions 
  13. Logon Script Example Assign Printer – RUNDLL32 PRINTUI.DLL 
  14. scripting – Need to modify VB script so it deletes all existing network printers first – Server Fault 
  15. Adding and deleting printer drivers on Windows from INF files via command-line | Hajuria’s Blog 
  16. KB3170455 preventing printer installation 
  17. command line – Trying to use rundll32 printui.dll, PrintUIEntry to set up a printer, getting an error – Super User 

 

Search results aren’t quite ready yet, but we’re working on getting them together. Try back in a few minutes.

While I rely on Windows 10, this is classic example of reliability engineering.
Keep it simple.
Because of time constraints, posts will be short and to the point.

Cortana would not index files and as a result, Windows Search was effective non-functional. A clean reinstall with our current set of GPOs caused my domain account to crash Cortana. Even after excluding the suspect GPO, my user profile would still not allow Cortana to index files and Control Panel/Metro settings. The error was: “Search results aren’t quite ready yet, but we’re working on getting them together.  Try back in a few minutes.”

Google tells me many others are having the same issue: here, here, here here, here, and here if you want to read and learn more.
The fix? This assumes United States English. If you want a different language, copy/paste the files from the same location from a system with the identical language; e.g. en-GB

  1. Download: en-US
  2. Extract to:
    %USERPROFILE%\AppData\Local\Packages\windows.immersivecontrolpanel_cw5n1h2txyewy\LocalState\Indexed\Settings
  3. If extracted correctly, double check the path:
  4. Reboot! Cortana and Window Search should be functional with complete results.

Another option is to remove the ability to search for Windows settings; refer to this thread.